Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Exaltation Is a Core Biblical Teaching

Exaltation is the Mormon equivalent of theosis, and the core of theosis is ancient and exists within and beyond Christianity.

It is the same general concept as the Eastern idea of the final state of being after a complete reincarnative existence. In Christianity, it is centered in the Biblical verses and passages that say we can become one with God - and I see that theme running from Genesis through Revelations. It was championed by early church leaders, and it still is taught in the Eastern Orthodox Church - which is my favorite Christian religion outside of Mormonism, for what that's worth. As I mentioned in the post last Thursday about what constitutes "the Gospel", I see Jesus of Nazareth as having preached the concept of theosis as central to his "good news" - and it is found in passages throughout nearly all of the epistles of the New Testament. The Intercessory prayer in John 17 is perhaps the best example.

Frankly, if anyone reads the Bible without theological preconceptions, I think it is very hard not to reach the conclusion that becoming like God is a major thread running through the entire compilation (although it isn't as explicit in the Old Testament as in the New Testament) - and, interestingly, it is not a thread at all in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith came to believe it passionately (and even radically, I would say), but that belief developed as he focused on his Bible translation efforts, not before or during the publication of the Book of Mormon. I think that's one of the strongest reasons he once said that the main difference between Mormons and other Christians is that we believe the Bible, and they don't. (not "in the Bible", but what the Bible actually teaches)

No comments: